tv Tavis Smiley PBS April 16, 2013 12:00am-12:30am EDT
tavis: good evening. smiley. tonight, a conversation with senator bernie sanders. the bombingrmath of of th in boston and the budget. and then a talk with chris columbus. with centeron bernie sanders and chris columbus coming up right now. >> there is a saying that dr. king had that said there is always the right time to do the right thing. i just try to live my life every day by doing the right thing. we know that we are only about halfway to completely eliminate
hunger, and we have a lot of work to do. walmart committed $2 billion to fighting hunger in the u.s. as we work together, we can stamp hunger out. yourd by contributions to pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. rd: with so much breaking news to date including the breaking news i and boston and the crisis in north korea and the budget, pleased to speak to
senator bernie sanders from washington. good to have you on this program. >> bid to be with you. >> let's start with boston. i do not know if you know any more than the rest of us. let's start with your thoughts on what happened in boston. >> boston is the capital of new england, that is where i live. the boston marathon is one of the great events in this country. tragedy.eal, real our hearts and prayers go out to the families who have been maimed, people who have been maimed or killed. it is a terrible, terrible event. >> what does it mean to you at least if this happened in boston, we know that 10 years ago when 9/11 occurred, one of off fromnes ttook airport. as you mentioned, boston is the capital of new england. what is your sense that the country has to do with this in
boston? >> it is ultimately, extraordinarily sad. to think that people are celebrating an event, running 26 miles, cannot do that in safety. it is a terrible thing. rd: when the country has to this, it i sugh a cause to put politics on the back burner. that cannot be ignored. the issues about that i had asked to come on about to discuss before this incident, how does an act, a horrific act like this change or steer in a different direction the debates that are already happening as we speak? regardlessi think,
of one's political view you will have 100 senators here, everyone in america who is shocked and saddened and horrified by this event. it reminds us that we are one people, one country, and when something like this happens, everyone's heart goes out to and come together. boston's own, john kerry, now the secretary of state has been traveling try to get china to do about -- something about this crisis in north korea. but get your sense of how we're navigating this potential crisis with north korea right now. exactlytary of state is
right. chinaignificant degree, is probably the player most important that can bring some .esolution to this crisis china helps feed a nation which is addressing the salvation. china is providing a great deal of energy to north korea. china borders on north korea and opening its border would have a huge impact on north korea. if there is any nation in the . china helpsworld that can bringe leverage, have some leverage on north korea, and make them understand you cannot go threatening nuclear war in 2013, it is china. i hope very much china accepts its contractual responsibility and does everything that it can to bring north korea into the and stop of nations the behavior that we have seen in recent months. tavis: it never take this
bierce -- you never take this behavior lightly. no matter how erratic and bizarre. >> the difficulty is when you are dealing with the nation that has nuclear weapons, if you are 99% sure that is bluster, you still get a little bit nervous because they have nuclear weapons. they have strong missile capability. because they are so isolated because their leadership is so far out of touch with the needs of their people, many of them, the winter epidemic of starvation -- and they went through an epidemic of starvation not so many years ago. people have control over nuclear weapons who believe in their own separate worlds. it may very well be bluster and let's hope that it is. there reasons to be concerned. tonight it is boston
with fellow citizens having their lives lost, snuffed out in a moment's notice. others being maimed and body parts loss. tonight boston is ground zero and a few months ago, newtown was ground zero. a few days ago there a debate to controlgun legislation. i said to you a few months ago would have to, we fight this hard just to get the debate on background checks, would you have believed me three or four months ago? >> i would have. tavis: wow. have a lot of members of the senate come from rural,
very, very conservative areas. folks outare there who listened to the nra whoother types of groups feel, politicians who feel they would be committing political suicide if they stood up to the nra. i'm not surprised at the cost of what has happened. of where the sense debate is going to go? >> we stand a chance of expanding background checks. tavis: you're telling me a few months after newtown, it is possible, it is conceivable that this year might end without an assault weapons ban and without legislation that guarantees background checks. >> it will end without a ban on
assault weapons, that is for sure. to whether or not we expand background checks, not sure. the would be shocked if that happens. but we do not do that. tois: that makes me want throw. i cannot do that on national television. i will keep it in for a few minutes. i understand how the system works and how should the american people see that? is honest and authentic. i love that about you. bernie sanders will always give you a straight answer whether you like it or not. how should the american public read that? >> what they should think about is what political power is about. and the way politics works is you have a small minority of people. maybe the nra or extremely well- organized have money to put a great deal of pressure on individual candidates. if you can did it as something
they do not want, they are prepared to run a primary opponent. they are prepared to a lot of money against that candidate. i think the people should read that is if you want to make progressive changes you have got to be involved in the political process. the truth of the matter is we have a lot of people, 62% of the people come out and vote during presidential elections. " in terms of the number of people who are involved, that number is pretty small. tavis: i digress on that. i hope you're wrong about how this will end up. let's spend some time on the budget. the good news is there will be a lot of debate on this in the
coming weeks. hope to have you back to talk more about this budget as it advances. let's take a few minutes to talk about what it means that this cuttingas the president social security, it has the president cutting medicare, you and a few other members of congress delivered almost 2.9 5,000,002 measures to the white house just days ago saying do not do this. yet the white house did anyway. what is your read tonight on the budget? >> the think the president has made a huge mistake in terms of public policy. the most important economic reality facing america today is the middle class is disappearing and we got a heck of a lot of people living in poverty. the wealthiest 1% are doing phenomenally well. mind is unconscionable to do what the president is proposing. change c.p.i. bring in $650 a year
less. there will be cuts for disabled veterans. as the chairman of the veterans committee that disturbs me. public policy wise is a big mistake. politically it is even worse. social security has been a pillar of the social safety net. it is what the democratic party has been most proud of. when you surrender that, when you give in to the republican desire to cut social security which is something they wanted to do for decades, when you make cuts in medicare or ask people to pay higher premiums in metical, what you're doing is surrendering to the republican ideology rather than standing up and doing what the vast majority of the american people want. it wants to protect social security, medicare, and medicaid.
that is in every poll i have seen. meanwhile when corporate profits are at an all-time high and one out of four corporations pays nothing in taxes, you have the opportunity to bring in some -- substantial amounts of revenue which is a much more preferable approach that cutting social ecurity or disabled veterans' benefits. politically, the president has disappointed a whole lot of his supporters. hisink public policy, if approach succeeds, a lot of people will be hurting. tavis: let me play devil's advocate. the calculation of the white house is the opposite of what you said. this is a political suicide. they had to know that there was a shade. advantage tosome this, my read of this is this is
to placate the other side. this is to give the republicans what they want on social security, on medicare. they have been screaming forever about entitlement cuts. i hate the phrase in thailand reform coming entitlement cuts. part of my disdain is these are earned benefits. the americans to expect benefits have earned them. it ain't about no and talmadge. the president and white house made a calculation that there would be and a bandage to put these cuts on the table so why did they do it? >> i think their theory is these changes, change c.p.i. and cuts to benefit programs will not go through unless the republicans are prepared to raise revenue on the wealthy. that may not happen. and there will be able to cheryl -- show the world how reasonable they were. they did what republicans wanted but the republicans did not want to raise revenue.
be that as of may, i think that is a dangerous strategy. what you're telling not only your own base, i am not talking about actors, i am talking about the average american, the average senior citizen. what you are seeing to that person is i am prepared to cut your benefits but i am not prepared to ask one out of four corporations to stop paying their fair share of taxes. that is a very bad political message to center of this country. decisionat does this due to the democratic party? there are those who have suggested that this splits -- it the not just anger president's base but especially the democratic party. they will be democrats. when they get to the will of the senate and the will of the house, there will be democrats going after the president on this. what does this do to his own party?
>> i think it causes a real rupture. i think that a lot of democrats have made it very clear that they do not intend to go back to their district in these difficult times and tell the elderly and disabled vets that will -- and they will cut their benefits. from the political point of view, it will hurt the democratic party and the president long term. breakingcause of this news of the tragedy in boston, we're still on high alert with north korea and this budget is one of the stories. i am honored to have you on tonight. i wish under different circumstances. i would like to talk about these tough choices. i do not envy you but i am glad you're there. bernie sanders, independent from vermont. always good to have you. >> thank you. good to be with you. tavis: a director -- a
discussion with director chris columbus. directedumbus has some of the most successful movies. now he is an author. "house ofs called secrets." it is interesting that after directing these you want to write one of these. a movie one day? >> possibly. it started as a movie. it was a 90-page screenplay. tavis: 10 years ago. potter.y >>." from london and
thought maybe a tv series. still too expensive. a couple of years ago i thought maybe it could be a novel. in my work as a novel because there's no limit to what we can do. mazzini, i gave him the 90 pages and i said take a look at this, see if there's something here. a week later, he mailed me the first chapter. i looked at it eroded and sent it back to him. we did that back and forth and we had 100 pages. we went out to harpercollins and they pick up the rest. the rest is history. over 10 yearsnow ago that this would be a $500 million project? was really at a time when
visual effects were extraordinarily expensive. to be able to accomplish some of the things, some of the visuals in this novel was impossible without the kind of budget. things have changed a little now. visual effects are becoming less expensive. it is possible it could be a film. and what this to live as a book. and what kids to discover it, i want kids to be reading it. i want them to fall in love with a reading. it is really about the book and the book was designed that way. when you get to the end of one from 9-0212-year- old trade you do not want to put it down. that creates a love of reading and a discovery of other offers. aways what are the take from harry potter about this? thematically linked
project like "the goonies." all these kids are coming up to me and telling me that "the goonies"changed my life. i did not like it that much. people were asking me, when are you writing the sequel? i said we cannot write the sequel. the kids are all 30. as a result i was able to -- i said i would do a thematic sequel. it has the excitement and the attitude and the wit of something like "the goonies,"and that is what it is. it has elements of fantasy which i have been dealing with cents "gremlins" and "young sherlock holmes." is.s: , what the journey >> the journey is three kits to
move into our house in san francisco. two sisters and brother. it is the house of a writer called denver christoff. when they move into the house christoff's of ks there. the kids are magically transported into three of the novels which connect with each other in the story. thematicallythe reason it is er ned and i to write this, the is never ending. it is an internal blank canvas. we can play with and experience with any jammer we like. tavis: i am always amazed at writers and directors and officers, songwriters who start something and they put it down and literally 10 or 15 or 20
years later they come back to it and they say timing is everything and you end up with this. for you, what was that like, putting something down and coming back to a decade later? >> i put a lot of stuff down that is lousy, that is bad. you open the door 10 years later and garlic, it should stay there. feed it to the cats. the state with me. if this is something i would think about every couple of years. this is the one that got away. ay can't i turn this into film? i thought this idea can live and breathe and exist the way it deserves. tavis: this is your first time doing a novel? >> yes. tavis: what do you think of the process? >> process is great because and i needed to co-write it. not because i needed experience
as a writer. i consider my first job being a screenwriter. that is my first love. i did not have the time to sit down and locked myself in a room for six months because i have a film company to run. collaborating has been one of the joys of my life. every couple of days i would open a new e-mail and there would be a chapter and rewriting it and send him back the chapter. i had two days to work on the novel and two or three days to work on the film business. it was a great combination. also, i was able to spend against having been a parent for 23 years, taking 20 years of experience with my own teenagers and toddlers and kids fighting and arguing at the dinner table. i have been able to transport that dialogue into this book. tavis: can you see already given your creative genius, can you see already the next phase, the next chapter, the next iteration of this.
thee are 130 pages into second book already. we love it. will love the process. have only met in person three times. tavis: what you make of the beauty of this organic connection without knowing the sky? >> here's the thing. i know based on my own experience i will go in and he is the underwriter, he is 20 years younger. i do not want him to feel either intimidated, i do not want to feel that we are doing this on an equal ground. i said when i send you a chapter and there is something you do not like, cut it. use your voice in areas where it is appropriate. if you said something to me and i do not like it, i will cut it. you have to have a complete lack of ego because the book matters. tavis: you got it done. fhe book is called "house o secrets." we get to ascertain whether he is a great writer.
k. rowling says, it is a rollercoaster, that is a great endorsement and she ought to know. >> i sent her the book early. i sent it to ver to get some advice. she came back and said, she loved the book but said it is too fast-paced, slow down and add some characters. we took her advice. tavis: and heritage. congratulations. that is our show. as always, keep the faith. onfor more information today's show, visit tavis smiley at pbs.org. tavis: hi, i'm tavis smiley. join me next time for a conversation with about his cd and his memoir that includes the mob and
michael jackson. tha that is next time. we will see you then. >> there is a saying that dr. king had that said there is always the right time to do the right thing. i just try to live my life every day by doing the right thing. we know that we are only about halfway to completely eliminate hunger, and we have a lot of work to do. walmart committed $2 billion to fighting hunger in the u.s. as we work together, we can stamp hunger out. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> be more. pbs.